Our first few months of homeschooling have been, well, challenging to say the least. All of the areas that I worried about have turned out to be non issues. The one thing that I worried about the least, has turned out to be the "bite-me-in-the-butt" issue that gives me nightmares!
Even with only four and a half months of homeschooling under my belt, I've managed to learn a few things...painful as they've been:
1. The grass is rarely greener! Part of me honestly thought that homeschooling was going to instantly transform my kids into treating their siblings with love and compassion....into the quiet, spiritually introverted children that I just knew God had created them to be....and into the most angelic, halo wearing, obedient children I had ever seen! Where did I get that notion in the first place??? Honestly, I expected this miraculous transformation to happen over night! I think I have a screw loose someplace! I have since
2. Be flexible! I anticipated this one to a certain degree. However, I was not prepared for just how OFTEN I would need to be flexible! Try...EVERYDAY! I knew I would need to be willing to change up the schedule some. If you know me, you know that my life is full of wrenches ready and waiting to be thrown at my day! I'm pretty good at adapting to that, I swear! I just wasn't ready for the MOOD CHANGES (including my own) that would require manipulating the schedule! Why did none of my homeschooling friends tell me about this one? I wasn't aware that even the slightest mention of starting a math lesson could cause Mt. Vesuvius to erupt and therefore causing the rest of the house.....to cry! Sigh!
3. Do not, I repeat, do NOT compare yourself to other homeschoolers! Too late! Been there done that! Here's a question for you.....If I was going to compare myself to other homeschoolers.....WHY OH WHY did I choose homeschooling families that have been at this soooo much longer that I have?? These other families had to learn all the same lessons that I'm learning, it's just that they learned them eons ago and can now look at me and say..."Oh yes, I remember when....."! The good news is that THEY SURVIVED and I will too. I think. I hope. I pray.
4. I'm so glad my kids are home! Even with all the hard knocks I've come to realize over the last few months, I wouldn't change it (yet)! Although I'm pretty much removed from all the goings on at our parish school, every now and then I get tidbit of information about things going on (bullying issues, teacher issues, cliques and such) that I am so thankful I don't have to deal with anymore! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE our parish school, I really do! I think they do a wonderful job of instilling Catholic values and academics into the students! I just don't like all the peripheral crap that goes on! It seems so burdensome and unnecessary. It can get to a point where you spend too much time dealing with all of that and less time on actual learning.
5. God's grace is endless! The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it this way: (2221) "....The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute. The right and the duty of parents to educate their children are primordial and inalienable." (2223) "Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children." (2224) ".....Parents should teach children to avoid the compromising and degrading influences which threaten human societies." (2225) "....Parents should initiate their children at an early age into the mysteries of the faith of which they are the "first heralds" for their children." (2226) "Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child's earliest years. This already happens when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in keeping with the Gospel. Family catechisms precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God." Clearly, the education of my kids is extremely important to God. But how can I do this? What if I fail? What if I blow it so bad that someday my kids do the unthinkable....leave the Church? What if one of my kids ends up taking a gun to a U.S. congresswoman's outdoor meeting at the parking lot of a grocery store and starts shooting? What if...what if....what if? The thing is, God doesn't ask me to attempt any of this alone. These are HIS children, not mine. He's entrusted HIS children to me while they are here on this earth...but they BELONG to Him! He would never ask me to do something that He has not first equipped me to do. He will give me what I need WHEN I NEED IT! Not one second sooner! His grace, love and compassion are infinite.
I can do this homeschooling thing! I CAN! God is with me every step of the way! It is His desire that Dan and I be their educators. He will help us do this. It might be hard...it might be tiring....it might even give me a twitch on some days, but I know that I know that I know, it's what we've been called to do!
Incidentally, Santa Claus brought us a family Christmas present this year (Santa sent it via my Uncle in CA!)....annual passes to Universal Orlando/Islands of Adventure! Thursday morning, my 46th birthday, we will be heading down to Orlando for our first visit to the likes of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter , The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and, The Cat in the Hat! I'm hoping for no crowds since this is technically the "off season"! This is a benefit of homeschooling....getting to take off on a family outing during the week!
So much for my Calgon vacation!